Cheerleading at Georgia can be dangerous.
Photo: Al Eckford
Photo: Al Eckford

Cheerleaders at Georgia had more concussions than football players

At a Knight Commission forum on Intercollegiate Athletics in Washington on Tuesday, Georgia sports medicine director Ron Courson was asked to rank concussions risks by sports.

His answer may surprise you.

“Over the last four years, we’ve had more concussions in cheerleading than we have in football and soccer,” Courson was reported as saying.

He did not supply hard numbers, but he wasn't alone in the sentiment. Other members of the panel - which included Princeton's director of athletic medicine, Margot Putukian - mentioned sport after sport that were more concussion-prone than football.

Soccer.

Wrestling.

Ice hockey.

Lacrosse.

Georgia has been at the forefront of concussion research. In 2010, Courson affirmed the need for rules against "spearing" and head-first contact before a Congressional committee. In 2014, Georgia joined a national alliance to study concussions among student-athletes. The three-year program, which in part includes collecting in-game date, is to help in the creation of a concussion evaluation program.

Previously, the commission has recommended that a portion of revenues from the $500 million College Football Playoff be used to support concussion research and other health and safety issues for athletes.

Tuesday's discussion was part of a broader talk on the safety risks with full-contact football practices during the season.

“Drills that we did 20 years ago, 30 years ago, we need to change,” Courson said. “From a rules standpoint, we can make it safer. From a practice standpoint, we can control it.”

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